A lot of people like using Windscribe for free, although users do not get premium features (like accessing specific servers and stuff like that). The website does not really advertise the free model too much, but it is definitely one of the best free VPN’s available. We think there are some better alternatives (like ProtonVPN) or others, but it is a really decent option.
Windscribe’s “pro” version has more servers, faster speeds and more overall features, but the free version gets the job done. Windscribes “PRO” version costs $49 (that like a half of how much ExpressVPN costs), but is it worth saving on the VPN? You can read the differences between free and paid VPNs here, but let’s move forward to our Windscribe review.
Windscribe is a VPN that offers a free version with a 10 GB data cap per month. It is based in Canada and we are going to put it to the test.
Straight from the beginning, I will reveal that Windscribe is not a premium VPN service with blazing fast speed and server distribution. Yet it is packed with essential security protocols (OpenVPN) and military-grade encryption (256-bit AES).
Even though Windscribe has just entered the VPN market, the company already boasts a solid 900k user base across the globe. Most users were attracted to the free version of the software.
Once you are looking for a VPN provider to secure your browsing activity, the first thing you should look at is their location. We already wrote a deep guide about 5/9/14 Eyes Surveillance Alliance, so you must be sure that your VPN provider is not based in one of those countries.
So, unfortunately, Windscribe is based in Canada and it falls under the 14-Eyes Surveillance jurisdiction. How bad is that? Well, it is probably logging your data.
Below, you will find our Windscribe review. We rated the “PRO” version of the service.
Here is a quick run-down of Windscribe VPN features:
|Logging policies?||No logs|
|Encryption protocols||IPSec & IKEv2, 256-bit AES|
|Customer support||24/7 bot support|
|Unblocks US Netflix?||Yes|
|Option to pay in cryptocurrencies?||Yes|
For all the privacy concerned folks, here is the bad news – Windscribe is based in Canada which is a member of the 5-eyes jurisdiction. But that’s not it, 5-eyes alliance will also allow the United States and the United Kingdom to access your personal data if needed.
Of course, this will never happen to most users, but keep in mind that Windscribe will have to comply with the law.
So to begin with, it is worth to mention that Windscribe has a variety of servers that “PRO” users can choose from. It total, the provider offers servers in over 60 countries and 100+ cities. The free version users only get access to 10 servers (including US, UK, France, NL, and some other most popular countries.
Also, the service is using the most popular encryption protocols – 256-bit AES/OpenVPN. They are all explained in our full VPN guide
Windscribe also offers this feature which is called R.O.B.E.R.T. We’re not sure why it was called so, but its main purpose is to allow users to block specific websites/domains/addresses. What are the benefits of this feature? Well, they name a few:
– See fewer ads
– Use less data
– Reduce the risk of infection.
We are not sure if this feature is super-handy though unless you want to protect your children’s devices from adult content.
One of the cool features that Windscribe has is its “split tunneling” feature (same as ExpressVPN). “Split tunneling” allows you to choose which apps go over the VPN, and which don’t. This is useful, as sometimes you need a VPN just to stream and you don’t want other apps to be involved.
And of course, the feature that Windscribe users like the most are their free version. Although it is pretty limited in terms of servers (10 servers available) and bandwidth (10GB/mo), it is doing the job. You can easily unblock Netflix and other streaming services, however, you will only be able to watch a few shows because of the limitations in free version.
App download and installation
Windscribe is compatible with all the major platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS. Also, it has an extension for your beloved browsers, also you can set-up this VPN on your TV and router. All the instructions are shown clearly on the website – good job here.
To download the app just visit windscribe.com and immediately you will see a download button. During the download, I suggest you create an account on the website. This will take less than a minute.
Quick tip – you will get 10 GB of free data right after email confirmation. And 15 GB more if you Tweet about this! If you are just entering the VPN world, this is a great start since you are not investing heavy money for your first VPN experience.
Installation is smooth, login, click connect and congrats – your browsing is now private and secure.
But is it?
Security and encryption
Simply said, yes – Windscribe is a safe VPN. Why? It has top protocols that keep you safe on the web: IKEv2, TCP, OpenVPN, Socks5 and UDP.
The majority of the VPNs are using OpenVPN as their default protocol, but Windscribe is using IKEv2 by default. And there is a reason for that.
This allows you to take top-notch AES-256 cipher encryption. For everyone privacy and security-obsessed person this is a blessing. For everyone else, AES-256 is extremely secure.
But again, security is one thing and logging policy is another. There are really secure VPNs like Hotspot Shield but their log policy does not add confidence for the user.
Furthermore, we also did checks on DNS and IP leaking whether true IP address of the user might be exposed. Again, no leaks were found with Windscribe.
Performance and speeds
Windscribe is a slow VPN.
Without further ado, let’s have a look at speedtest.net results
With VPN on European server:
Expectations were over the roof when I saw European server performance – multiple tests have shown similar results.
But then we switched to the US server and the results are as follows…
With VPN on US server:
It is kind of sad seeing these results having in mind that Windscribe did a great job encrypting and securing your internet.
Seems like we’re seeing more and more issues with Windscribe while continuing our review. Customer support must be the biggest joke amongst all VPN services.
Yes, you guessed it right – live chat is being operated by a bot (a terrible one). Bots are fine and I don’t have anything against it, but in this particular situation, there is no option to get a live person.
I must admit that customer support is a major fail. Windscribe, you can do better!
There are 2 premium plans + 1 custom plan.
The monthly price is 9 USD which is kind of average compared to other VPNs. Not a yearly plan offers a 55% discount and makes 4.08 USD per month.
4 USD is a bit expensive when you add up all the pros and cons. At the same price, you can get truly leading VPN services like NordVPN.
You can pay with the most popular methods including Credit Card, Paypal, and Bitcoin.
As of refund policy, I could not find a clear explanation but Garry from customer support was helpful this time and told me that there is a 3-day money-back guarantee.
Should you choose this VPN over others? Well, it is not a cheap VPN, it is not a top performer. Windscribe is a safe VPN but most paid products offer the same security.
I can’t recommend this VPN service as of now it just does not justify the price and benefits are not unique. Looks like that Windscribe is on a good path and it will get to the top in the future.